Language teaching in the digital age


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From a workshop for the University of Westminster EFL.

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  • The horizontal axis represents the polarisation between theories of language input. Implicit input arises from natural exposure and sub-conscious processing, explicit from teaching and conscious processing. The vertical axis represents the concept of how language input is processed. Nativist implies that language learning is an innate skill, interactionist that language is a specialised form of knowledge that is acquired through interaction with the environment. He adds this observation:  “Of course polarizations are never absolute and theories as well as individuals place themselves on various stages along the continuum of these axes.” (p22)
  • Contrast these 2 images – gadget man : teachers who use tech may be perceived as “techies” , others may prefer to avoid!Personally I prefer to see the e INSIDE the learning – embedded in what we do, just a tool (or ever changing tool set) which helps us find the best way to extend what we do beyond the classroom.
  • Language teaching in the digital age

    1. 1. Language teachingin the digital age.T.MacKinnonSenior tutor, Language Centre
    2. 2. Global trends in language learning.There is a case for a reconceptualised field that is morelearner-centered, more collaborative and moretechnologically driven.The trends in language learning are moving us forwardin such a way as to empower our students tocommunicate with others across the globe in realtime.
    3. 3. Challenges and opportunities:• Language use• Role of the teacher• Digital skills• Availability of resources• New modes ofcommunication• Teacher as learner
    4. 4. What beliefs do we hold about howlearners learn?Macaro, 2003T.MacKinnon, April 2010
    5. 5. Where are you?transmissioninterpretationAt the interpretation end, the tutor isconcerned to train the learner to becomeautonomous in language acquisition, morein tune with a constructivist view.At the transmission end of thiscontinuum tutors would havepositivist views that learning isachieved through the transmissionof objective reality. They would seemastery and internalisation oflanguage structure and form to bethe learner’s goal.T.MacKinnon, April 2010Wright, 1987
    6. 6. content• British Council• TES connect• Authentik InteractiveInternet culture:CaptureShareRemixManage your online identity
    7. 7. curationMaking the resources more manageable:• Bookmarking sites• Pearltrees•• Netvibes
    8. 8. creationMany web 2.0 tools for mixed media creations.Many evangelists.• (games/surveys)• Popcorn maker example• Student e-portfolios• PublishImportant questions:• Where? Who? Control? Sharing?
    9. 9. communication• Between educators: • Between students:#edchat #ukedchat#globalclassroom
    10. 10. WarwickLanguage on twitter and youtubeSecond Life: Personal website
    11. 11. Eating elephants.
    12. 12. complexityEmailWordfilesWeb/cloudaudiovideoMultiple windows
    13. 13. Learning
    14. 14. The Language Centre’s talkingmahoodleThe basic concept of the Web:“. . . that it is an information space through which people cancommunicate.. . communicate by sharing their knowledge in a pool. . . The ideawas that everybody would be putting their ideas in, as well astaking them out.”Tim Berniers-Lee (considered by many as the father of the www)28/09/2010 T.Mackinnon
    15. 15. Community of practiceThe domain: A community of practice is not merely a club of friends or a network ofconnections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain ofinterest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and thereforea shared competence that distinguishes members from other people.The community: In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in jointactivities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They buildrelationships that enable them to learn from each other.The practice: Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop ashared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressingrecurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustainedinteraction.Etienne Wenger: